He always seems to be smiling when you pass him on the Quarter Mile or grabbing his usual at Artesano's. Greg Pollock, RIT's student body president, is one hundred percent a campus celebrity. Whether it be him rocking his RIT orange blazer or making an appearance, Mr. Pollock easily captures this week's Campus Celebrity title.
What is your major? And year?
Professional Technical Communications
Why did you choose RIT?
It was pure instinct. I was a moth to an open flame. I knew nothing about RIT. I originally wanted to go to Arizona State University and join Phi Kappa Psi there. That is, until a teacher asked if I heard of RIT. Everything changed at that moment. I told my mother of my newfound interest and she agreed to take me up to New York one weekend.
It was 11:00pm when we finally went one Saturday, it was dark as we pulled into the campus. We couldn’t see a single thing except for the silhouette of Eastman, the Field House and Gleason. I looked over at my mother and said, “this is it.”
What has been your favorite class so far?I have to say it was this art history class I took under Professor Sidone Roepeke. Even though it’s not within my major, she is a fascinating teacher who taught us how art throughout history has taught us a great deal about ancient societies and their progress to what we call “modern thinking.”
What is your favorite RIT memory?
I have to say it was living in the residence halls. There is nothing like the novelty of being at a college, starting your whole life all over, and having all of your friends just down the hall.
Favorite part of RIT?
My favorite part of RIT is the fact that every day is a new day. There’s always a new experience waiting for us all. I have been here for four years and RIT continues to amaze me in that way. It’s so dynamic… and I know this is typical of someone to say, but no one ever fails to amaze me. The student leaders, staff, faculty that I’ve had the honor to work with have impacted my life one way or another. And I’m forever grateful for the learning experience they’ve offered. So much more to go!
I’ve had so many great professors. If you wanted me to go through the list you’d be publishing a book.
Favorite place to eat?
This is very debatable, food is rather consistent all across campus but I would have to say my personal favorite is the Crossroads. Though I don’t eat there often, they have the largest variety of options available.
I also always enjoy a casual trip to Beanz. Their mixed coffee drinks are the best on campus, the staff is friendly, and it’s one of RIT’s hidden treasures. I always chuckle when everyone asks “you mean the place in front of Gracie’s?”
“Yes, the place has a name.” J
Piece of advice on how to survive RIT?
There’s a reason why there’s a coffee shop at every corner of RIT.
What first got you involved in student government? (Did you get involved in high school, who interested you in it, etc.)
Originally I never planned to get involved in Student Government. Student Government seemed so farfetched. It’s like the North Star, you can keep walking towards it and it’ll never get closer. I started my first year just cruising on by – playing video games and sleeping in. Eventually some RA’s pushed me to become a Resident Advisor. A year later I’m an RA running for the NTID Student Congress. Then while I was in NSC, a fellow Major Student Organization President named Phil Amsler came up to me during one of Student Government’s Senate sessions and asked if I had any plans for Student Government. I originally said no, but after some encouragement from my friends I put my bid in the hat and the rest is history.
Who have been some of inspirations/mentors along the way?
There were two critical people in my journey at RIT. The first, is a phenomenal woman named Ellie Rosenfield. Ellie Rosenfield was the dean of Student Affairs at NTID. She was our advisor while I was the President of the NTID Student Congress. Ellie’s wisdom was beyond that of this earth. She had an infallible way of impacting the lives of the people around her. While she lived, there was no escaping her positive aura. Ellie Rosenfield passed away two years ago to cancer. I remember her face, always.
That being said, she was stubborn when it came down to the student experience. She wanted the best for each and every student, even if it meant arguing tooth and nail with some of her colleagues. And there were also times where she had to harden her role and offer tough justice in unfortunate situations. But she did so kindly and fearlessly... I can only hope to one day mold a personality that relates to the way she looked at life and learn from it.
The second is Karey Pine, RIT’s amazing Director for RIT’s Center of Campus Life. Karey leads her team with such an intensity and vibrancy that you almost want to wear sunglasses. (That’s why Student Government purchased sunglasses as our freebie last year.) Karey has this uncanny way of always knowing what to say when it needs to be said. She shines where I struggle, and is as a result, an amazing advisor to have on the SG team. I continue to tell everyone that to come to RIT and not meet her is not just a loss, it’s a disappointment.
What has been your greatest accomplishments as SG student body president?
To be honest, there’s too many to list. It has been a great year, and an honor to serve as the President of RIT’s SG. Our team has worked so hard to bring a full resume of achievements to RIT. I am just so proud of the amount of commitment RIT puts in its Student Life. And yes, there is still room for improvement, but as far as I go – I really can’t decide what my greatest accomplishment is until I come back 10 years later and see what has really worked and what hasn’t.
What has been the hardest part of being SG student body president
The hardest part is the most fun part. Representing 17,000 members of the most diverse community you’ve ever seen. It’s not a role I take lightly. I am faced with the reality that I am a deaf, straight, and white male raised under my own perspectives.
These perspectives are ones that I have to remind myself to set aside. Understanding that no one’s story is the same. It takes a lot of time and patience to build the trust with those who guide you as you gain knowledge across cultures.
What has been the best parts of being SG president?
I always said that if I could just put academics aside, I would. I would pay $35,000 a year just for this experience any day.
The best part of being an SG President is… knowing that I haven’t earned it yet. Some people might be a bit surprised by that comment but the way I see it – you do not earn something until you’ve done your job. A man who has not yet swept a chimney cannot be called a chimney sweep.
You can’t really define what we do. Every day is a new experience. There are new challenges, new obstacles, and new ideas every day. The thrill and pressure of knowing that our duty is never done is what keeps me going.
With that being said, I work alongside a team of some of the most awesome people the RIT community has ever seen, both student and staff. They really make a difference.
What do you hope to accomplish before graduating?
I just want to leave a positive footprint at RIT and to know that I did something for this community. It’s important to me to know that I’ve done my job, and I’ve done it well.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Heh, that’s the question we all seem to be trying to figure out these days.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I recently accepted a job offer from the Dow Chemical Company. I’m hoping to see where this path takes me. It’d be nice to have a routine for at least a little while before I really get back into the mix of things. After an intense three-year juggling act created by my involvements on campus, SG, and academics, I’m ready to take it easy before I put my name down for graduate school. Rest assured though, I will go for my Master’s!
What’s your dream job?
It’s always been a cross between Student Affairs and Public Affairs. I’ve found that I truly enjoy the dynamic lifestyle of a job that never sees the same day twice. I get bored easily with predictable.
A quirky fact about yourself?
I have an insatiable passion for travel – In my lifetime, I’ve been to 49 states and 7 countries in 3 continents.